This is archived content from the U.S. Department of Justice website. The information here may be outdated and links may no longer function. Please contact if you have any questions about the archive site.

636. Insanity—Prior Law

Prior to the adoption of the Federal statutory standard in the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984, most Federal courts were using some form of the proposal of the American Law Institute's Model Penal Code, which provides that:

  1. (A) person is not responsible for criminal conduct if at the time of such conduct as a result of mental disease or defect he lacks substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality (wrongfulness) of his conduct or to conform to the requirements of the law.
  2. (T)he terms "mental disease or defect" do not include an abnormality manifested only by repeated criminal or otherwise anti-social conduct.

Model Penal Code, § 4.01 (P.O.D. 1962). See United States v. Freeman, 357 F.2d 606 (2d Cir. 1966); United States v. Currens, 290 F.2d 751 (3d Cir. 1961); United States v. Chandler, 393 F.2d 920 (4th Cir. 1968)(en banc); Blake v. United States, 407 F.2d 908 (5th Cir. 1969)(test altered to eliminate volitional prong by United States v. Lyons, 731 F.2d 243 (1984)); United States v. Smith, 404 F.2d 720 (6th Cir. 1968); United States v. Shapiro, 383 F.2d 680 (7th Cir. 1967); Pope v. United States, 372 F.2d 710 (8th Cir. 1967); Wade v. United States, 426 F.2d 64 (9th Cir. 1970)(en banc); Wion v. United States, 325 F.2d 420 (10th Cir. 1963); United States v. Brawner, 471 F.2d 969 (D.C. Cir. 1972)

(en banc).

[cited in JM 9-18.000]

Updated January 22, 2020